1. Your spending will boost the local economy

Research shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.

  1. Local is the ethical choice

Buying out-of-season produce, like strawberries in December, lowers your eco-credentials. As does eating turkey and carrots that have been flown halfway round the world or wrapped in layers of plastic. When you shop at local butchers, bakers, farm shops and green grocers, it is likely that a high percentage of the produce has had a short field-to-fork journey. Along with supporting local farmers, it means the food is likely to contain more nutrients and have less packaging including the dreaded plastic.

  1. Independents sell quirky, one-off gifts

Independent shops often stock items which are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere: buy a dress by a fledgling designer and there is little chance of turning up to a wedding wearing the same as someone else.

When it comes to gifts, quirky one-off items are a major plus of independent shops Local shops also support local artists and designers, food producers and growers, so you’re buying products absolutely unique to the area and independent bookshops often stock titles by local authors that aren’t yet on the shelves of the major chains.

  1. You will be supporting Local entrepreneurs

Artisan markets help foster the talents of the next generation of designers and retailers. “[They] are hotbeds of innovation,” says Mike Cooksedge, founder of SeeMyLocalMarket. “There is a constant turnover of new products, and sellers listen to customers’ demands. If a certain pie filling is popular, for example, a pie maker will respond to that and quickly supply more of them – and you can suggest things too, so you can even have a bit of influence over the products on sale.”

  1. You can help build communities

Bookshops, cafes and craft shops often drum up custom by hosting events, from book groups to stitch & bitch and children’s events Supporting them helps local groups too

Markets also often give space to community groups and social enterprises, says Ellie Gill, campaign manager at Love Your Local Market. “Markets can have a community value, as there is often a social purpose to stalls – they can be public spaces as well as retail outlets.”

  1. You might get a better deal or some good advice

Local bakers throw in extra bagels for regulars; grocers give informal 10% discounts; and market stall holders are prepared to negotiate on prices. Independent retailers can use their discretion to reward regular custom, and it can mean you get discounts on the items you want to buy, rather than being tempted by BOGOF offers in supermarkets which often end up adding to food waste.

If you get to know your independent trader they should be able to recommend products to you, says Michelle Ovens, national campaign manager for Small Business Saturday. “For example, if you have a particular dietary requirement, they can usually tell you which products you can eat.”

  1. You can sometimes try before you buy

Major retailers have the advantage of economies of scale and can afford to slash prices and offer reduced costs. However, it’s easy to waste money on products you end up not actually liking. You can hardly crack open a bottle of fizz in a supermarket aisle and do a quick taste test, or check if an apple is crunchy by taking a big bite. Neither can you do this online. At independent retailers, however, it’s easier to ask to sample a product. Many independent off-licences throw regular wine tasting events, while farm shops, bakeries and delis hand out tasters as a matter of course.

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